my colombia travel tips

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Whenever I meet people who have travelled throughout South America, they very often tell me that Colombia was their favourite place. It's mine as well. There's something completely captivating about the land and the people, despite the country's tumultuous past. I'm happy to say that it really is quite safe to travel there now - my only safety tips would be not to flag cabs on the street (call them instead), and make sure you're in a safe place when taking money out from an atm. 

Now, on to my three favourite places and my must see's in each one:

  • The Musea del Oro (the Gold Museum) is a breathtaking museum displaying Colombia's archaeological history, with a focus on gold. 
  • The Museo Botero has an impressive collection of one of Colombia's most celebrated artists, Fernando Botero. Gotta love someone who only paints and sculpts fat people.
  • The Zona Rosa is a happening neighbourhood filled with trendy restaurants and great shopping.
  • La Candelaria is another wonderful area in the city. Perfect for whiling away an afternoon and visiting the above mentioned museums.
  • UsaquĆ©n is home to a famous flea market on Sundays, definitely worth checking out.
  • Expoartesanias - this is my number one favourite thing to do in Colombia, but it only happens once a year in December. It's South America's biggest art market and each time I go, I spend hours walking through the stalls and emptying my wallet. 

  • Villa de Leyva is a little town about 3 hours away from Bogota by car. It's beautifully old fashioned, with colonial architecture and the cutest little shops and restaurants. My advice would just be to go to the plaza and start walking. 
  • If you want something touristy, my mom suggests leaving the town to explore the Convento del Santo Ecce Homo.
  • If you do go, let me know and I can help with accommodation. There are lots of nice houses to let.

  • Cartagena is a touristy hot spot, so accommodation ranges from cheap and cheerful to VERY expensive and luxurious. On the cheap and cheerful end, the Hotel Tres Banderas is a great find. If you're rolling in it, the Santa Clara is a magnificent old monastery turned 5 star hotel.
  • La Vitrola - one of my favourite restaurants in the old city serving up traditional Colombian fare in a beautiful room.
  • La Manga is an area quite different from the walled city, but beautiful nevertheless.
  • Even though Cartagena is a coastal city, I have to say that the beaches are disappointing. If you're a tourist, you will be harassed nonstop by hawkers and it's just not worth it. Stick with pools. 
  • Cartagena is really all about the ambience. So get out, explore, eat the street food and take photos. A post lunch siesta doesn't hurt either.
One last note on food - I just love Colombian food! Make sure to try: arepas, empanadas, bandeja paisa, ajiaco, and as much juice as you can get your hands on (curuba and guanabana are good starts). Well, that's that! Feel free to ask me any other questions; I'm happy to help. And thanks to my mom for helping me put this post together.


  1. it really looks like a beautiful place!

  2. im pinning this post for when i head down to colombia!!

    xo the egg out west.

  3. gosh, i wonder if i'll ever get there, maybe i need to put it on my list?! sounds like I need too:o I had no idea it was such a desirable place to travel!

  4. I've never been to South America, I'd love to go. It seems like such a vibrant, beautiful place.

  5. The picture are amazing.Would like to visit the place sometime!!!

  6. This place looks beautiful! I really love the first picture. :)

  7. Oh this makes me want to travel!! What a beautiful place! :)

  8. Beautiful photos! Gosh this makes me wish I had more opportunities to travel. I haven't even left the states yet! I'm missing out!

  9. I love South America, the place where I would like to visit most is Chili .

  10. It just looks (and sounds, obviously) SO GOOD. We're off to Mexico in a couple of weeks, if only we had more time/money and we could go further down .... I hope you get to travel back there soon. Kellie xx

  11. oh this is so good to know! never been to south american but i love how you broke it down here. good tips and picks :)

  12. cartagena looks like a beautiful little treasure :) oh, someday....


  13. ive only been to ecuador in south america, and have always always wanted to go to columbia!

  14. Thanks for the tips! I'll be keeping hold of this for future planning :)

  15. My urge to travel to Colombia just became really really big :)
    Muchos gracias for putting this posts together!!!


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